16.6: Building Your Brand

Your Hosts: Dan, Erin, Brandon, and Howard

Branding, in marketing terms for writers, is the process of establishing a recognizable identity—a brand— for you and your works in the marketplace of readers, and people who buy things for readers. In this episode we talk about what our brands need to be doing for us, and how we go about getting them to do that.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Find the elements of your brand from your friends, alpha readers, and beta readers.

16.5: Pros and Contracts

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, Brandon, and Erin

Here’s our deep dive into the subject of contracts in the publishing business. We can only go so deep during a fifteen-minute episode, so we ran about twice as long as usual. We discuss some of the things you should look for, things you should watch out for, and resources that can help you out.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Homework! Check out the SFWA Model Contracts at the SFWA site. You might also have a look at Mary Robinette’s Patreon because she got permission to step all the way through one of her contracts with her patrons.

Middle Game, by Seanan McGuire

16.4: Networking

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, Erin, Brandon, and Howard

Networking is an invaluable part of any business, and the business of writing is no exception. In this episode we’ll talk about how to do it effectively, genuinely, and in ways that benefit the entire community.

Credits: This episode was recorded my Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Come up with five non-transactional things you can do to help other people in your network.

The City We Became, by N.K. Jemesin

16.3: Publishing Pitfalls

Your Hosts: Dan, Erin, Howard, and Brandon

Erin Roberts joins us for our third installment in Brandon’s business-of-writing series. In this episode we’re covering pitfalls and common problems—including some predatory practices—for you to be on the lookout for while you develop your career as a writer.

Credits: This episode was recorded my Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

Liner Notes: “Accountabilibuddy,” which is written here so Howard can remember it.

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Writer Beware, w/ Victoria Strauss and SFWA

16.02: Publishers Are Not Your Friends

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, Howard, and Brandon

It sounds like a mean thing to say, but it’s not a wrong thing to say. A publisher is a corporation, and a corporation doesn’t have friends. It has contractual relationships. We can make friends with people who work for publishers, but those are not the same thing.

Liner Notes: here is an archived copy of Dave Brady’s essay about “company loyalty”

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

 

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Business research! Make a list of publishers who are releasing new books by new authors in your space. Watch for editor and author names.

Active Memory, by Dan Wells

16.01: Your Career is Your Business

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, Howard, and Brandon

Welcome to 2021, and Season 16 of Writing Excuses. This year we’re dividing the year into “master classes” or “intensive courses.”

We’re kicking it off with Brandon’s episodes, which are all about the business of writing, and the first of those is this one!

So… your career is your business. In this episode we’ll talk about how that mindset—this is a business—informs our other activities, and how valuable it can be to get our heads in the right place early on.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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So… GOOD OMENS. Read the book. Watch the series. Consider what sorts of decisions Neil Gaiman made to adapt the novel to a new medium.

Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

15.52: Economy of Phrase, Being the Concentrated Concatenation of Complex Thoughts in Just a Very Few Words Which Must Fit In A Very Very Small Box, With Patrick Rothfuss

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, and Dan, with special guest Patrick Rothfuss

Did we have too much fun applying ironic humor to the title of this episode? Possibly! Patrick Rothfuss joins us to talk about economy of phrase, and the ways in which big ideas can be expressed with a few of the exactly-right words.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Take a scene from your prose work, and remove all the blocking and dialog tags. Now space out the dialog on the page, and attempt to convey the missing information with stick figures and smiley faces.

JimZub.com comic-writing tutorials
(Start here!)
Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud

15.51: Feedback—When to Listen, and When to Ignore, with special guest Mahtab Narsimhan

Your Hosts: Dan, Howard, Mahtab, and Brandon

We’re often taught that the best critique group feedback is reactions to the writing, rather than  advice for fixing it. But prescriptive feedback—critiques that include suggestions for you how to might rewrite something—is an important part of the process.

In this episode we discuss how we curate our critique groups and filter their feedback to improve our writing, and our experiences with these groups.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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The Random Critique Exercise: 
1) You and a writer friend each prepare a critique of a different thing.
2) File the serial numbers off (character names, locations, etc) and swap critiques.
3) Treat this critique from your friend as if it was for your manuscript. Discover what wrong advice looks like, and how often a broken watch might actually be correct.

What Unites Us, by Dan Rather